St Louis Blues by W. C Handy: Arranged by
Alan Stancliff: W. C. Handy and my grandfather
were on a first-name basis. My mother used to sing this song all the time
when I was a child. I arranged it for classic guitar, electric guitar, bass,
drums, pan flute, and whistle, and I dedicate this arrangement to my mother,
an excellent poet who died in 1993.
Seattle Children's Jazz Dreams: By Alan
Stancliff The tune was inspired on a beautiful
spring day when I was eating lunch at Children's Hospital in Seattle. Through
the glass door, I could see some children playing outside rather joyously
while their parents were inside, wrestling with heavy concerns and
difficult-to-control feelings. The sky was a wonderful blue with little fluffy
clouds, and although the day was sunny, there was a moist Seattle crispness
in the air. I put together the tune, and this is the result of arranging
that tune and some improvisations around it. The harpsichord plays a part
in kind of a piano pop-jazz style in the middle of this piece, improvising
on the theme.
Ebony's Fancy Sachet Sashay: By Alan
Stancliff. Ebony was not her real name,
but she came from a country near where ebony trees grow. Her entire family
traveled to the US to see her and be with her in her last days. They were
dressed in their country's beautiful traditional clothing of rich colors
which were so fitting, against their dark-brown skins. Ebony was very popular
among staff and patients, and she had a light and laughing spirit. She was
a young teen, just in the first bloom of young womanhood, and in my mind's
eye, I could imagine her being thrilled with a beautiful sachet while gracefully
sashaying down the sidewalk. I still shed a tear now and then in her
Swinging Whistler's Dream: By Alan
Stancliff. I love to hear excellent whistling.
Once at the Berkeley Campus at the University of California back in the 1970s,
I heard a young man who was a virtuoso whistler. He whistled the strings
section Mozart's Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, and he absolutely floored me with
Romance de Amor.
Traditional: This is an old Spanish folk
song. I learned this version from one of my guitar teachers, Maestro Roberto
Torres in Mexico when I was young. Maestro Torres had studied with Miguel
Llobet. Miguel Llobet had also been one of Andres Segovia's early teachers.
The version on this CD is played a bit different than one usually hears in
concerts, and it is patterned on the way Maestro Torres played it.
Variations on Romance de Amor: By Alan
Stancliff. I wrote this set of variations
on the above piece. The traditional version is played in 3/4, but these
variations are in 4/4. Some of the rhythmic background is based on Latin
American drumming concepts. The twangy thing at the beginning and end is
Sweet Margaret's Summer Blue Rose: By Alan
Sweet Margaret is my wife of many years.
She loves to garden and is trying to get together a blue rose. Someone offered
her a cutting, but she has not been able to acquire it yet. I originally
wrote it for classic guitar, but I ended up arranging it for small
Alan's High Steppin' Ragtime Guitar: By Alan
Stancliff. I actually improvised this piece
one evening when I was playing a gig back in the late 1970s or early 1980s.
I can't remember when. I always kept this piece, and this year, I finally
got around to writing it down so I could register it with the US copyright
office. It was one of those inspirations that happen rarely, and when I first
played it, it was very much like you hear on this CD today, decades later.
The original name was Alan's Rag, but I think I like the newer name better.
It is a solo guitar piece, played in a finger-picking semi-Travis style.
Kim's Fading Tears: By Alan
Stancliff. This is dedicated to a very brave
and intelligent woman I have known for many years, who has had more than
her share of tragedy in her life. She is a wonderful folk singer, writes
beautifully, and one of the funniest comedians I have ever heard. She has
an advanced degree in theology.
Recuerdos de la Alhambra. By Francisco
Tarrega: The Alhambra is a famous set of
Moorish administrative and civic buildings located in Toledo, Spain. It
originally had the residence of the Muslim rulers of Spain, along with beautiful
mosque. It is one of the most impressive architectural expressions in the
world. The Moors built the Alhambra during the 800 years they ruled Spain.
During the time the Muslim Moors ruled, Spain was the most important cultural
and intellectual center of Europe. It had the best universities, and many
notable scholars worked there, including many Christian and Jewish scholars.
When Ferdinand and Isabel finally drove the Moors out of Spain in the last
years of the 15th century, it is said that the last Muslim ruler Boabdil
looked back at the Alhambra and wept at the thought of never being able to
see the ever-so-beautiful Alhambra again with its graceful spires and amazing
tile-work, its libraries, its gardens, its walkways. Although the memory
of the Spanish occupation faded from Moorish folklore during the centuries,
the memory of the Alhambra remained in many romantic tales and songs. The
classic guitar rosette around the sound hole of the classic guitar is
traditionally patterned on the world-famous tile work of the great mosque
of Alhambra. The title of this piece, Recuerdos de la Alhambra,
means something like Recollections of the Alhambra, or better
yet, Nostalgic Yearning for the Alhambra. Francisco Tarrega
captures the spirit of sadness Boabdil and his men must have felt as they
rode away down the road, leaving the majestic Alhambra in the hands of strangers,
never to return. Within a very short time after the Boabdil left, the new
rulers commissioned Christopher Columbus to find a route to India, and then
the Spanish Inquisition began and spread to Spain's new world.
May you have as much pleasure listening to this musical
collection as I had in creating it.